NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday sought the assistance of Attorney General K K Venugopal in a plea seeking to debar lawyers from practicing while they are members of Parliament or state Assemblies.
The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar sought Venugopal’s assistance on a plea filed by lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who cited the Bar Council of India’s Rules that barred lawyers from practising while they are lawmakers.
The court slated the hearing for March 12.
The petitioner has contended that legislators who also practice in court were in a conflict of interest situation because as lawmakers, they are doing many things that have a bearing on the functioning of the judiciary.
Citing a serious conflict of interest, Upadhyay contended that as Parliamentarians, practising lawyers have the power of voting on the impeachment of judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, and such a situation may allow judges to feel beholden to them and to oblige them.
“A salaried person and particularly a public servant cannot practice as an advocate, but legislators are practicing, which is violation of Article 14 of the Constitution. Legislators take fee from litigant and salary from the public exchequer, which is professional misconduct,” Upadhyay said in his plea.